The events of this week have proven that no matter how prepared you may be, sometimes Mother Nature wreaks havoc in ways that even the best-laid plans cannot avert. The tragedy of Hurricane Sandy caused unbelievable devastation, spreading up the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine. Though New York City was brought to its knees by the storm and the massive power outages it caused and Washington, DC also experienced major damage, nowhere was hit harder than the state of New Jersey. With millions of people still without power, today we are thinking about the effect this storm will have on small businesses.
Small business owners have been majorly in play during this year’s election season, with both parties and candidates claiming to be the most supportive of small businesses. But now that this unbelievable act of Nature has brought the Eastern seaboard to its knees, small businesses in affected states are going to be more in need than ever of disaster assistance, beneficial economic policy, and emergency relief from the government. Today we want to bring you some important information regarding what you can do now to seek relief if your business has been impacted by the hurricane. Likewise, we hope that this information will be of use to a greater audience and encourage small business owners nationwide to make sure they have disaster plans in place should something like this happen again.
One thing to consider if your business is hit by a natural disaster is your crisis communications strategy. The Small Business Administration provided some helpful tips in a recent article regarding the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, and you can find the full article here. An important takeaway we found especially relevant to businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors is having a clear plan to deal with the media after the disaster so that you can clearly and effectively communicate your message. Make sure you have a spokesperson and that all employees know who this person is. It’s important to stay on message when communicating your needs and plans after your business is affected by a natural disaster so take time now to designate this person.
We found some other great information from The Street, which offers excellent information on disaster planning for businesses in the path of hurricanes and other weather systems. Among the important recommendations in this article are preparing yourself to have emergency funds should you need immediate access to cash to keep your business up and running. For businesses capable of maintaining operations should the main office be disastrously impacted, put a plan in place to work remotely and make sure that employees are familiar with contingency plans. You can find other great recommendations from The Street here.
If Hurricane Sandy has impacted you, we send you our wishes for a swift restoration not only of your business functions but also your personal needs. If you need disaster assistance for your small business, please contact the Small Business Administration and apply for a federal emergency disaster loan. All the relevant information can be found on the Small Business Administration website. We wish you a swift recovery from the effects of this horrible storm and hope that the whole East Coast will soon be back in business.
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